Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Osmond Chui writes that Australia is no exception to the trend of modest economic growth being entirely hoarded by the wealthiest few, while work and life are ever more precarious for everybody else:
What makes people angry about excessive executive pay is the growing gap between executive pay and normal wages – making it look as though insecure work and wage theft is rewarded. The sunny, optimistic image of the Australian economy that business and the Coalition are trying to sell just doesn’t match their experience.

There is one economy for the bosses and one for everyone else. While executive pay is soaring and a record number of companies are profitable, the amount that everyday Australians are getting is shrinking. Their sense of unfairness and resentment is compounded by the pursuit of corporate tax cuts and the growing sense that their work is driving those profits but they’re missing out on the rewards.

Even though Australia has experienced the longest period of uninterrupted growth in the developed world, the proportion of GDP that’s being paid to workers has hit an all-time low. Australia is among countries with the highest growth in income inequality in the world over the past 30 years, according to the International Monetary Fund. While the economy has been growing, wages have been stagnating. While median ASX100 CEO pay rose by 12.4% in a single a year, real median household incomes only grew by 2.7% between 2007-08 and 2015-16.

At the same time, work is increasingly insecure. 40% of Australians workers are now in insecure work. Australia has the third highest level of part-time work in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Centre for Future Work has found that less than half of the labour force are full-time workers with access to leave. There has also been a disappearance of “good jobs”, jobs that are full-time and not low paid, with analysis by Peter Whiteford finding that only 55% of men and only 30% of women are in such roles.
In a climate of insecurity, employers are increasingly brazen. It is no surprise that stories of wage theft fill the media, catching everyone from local restaurants to celebrity chefs. The most galling bit is that wage theft is not only a business model but that CEOs are actually rewarded for such bad behaviour.

We’re living in a lucky country for some, and reining in executive pay is just the tip of the neoliberal iceberg. Forcing companies to adopt CEO pay ratios would be a start but that alone won’t address the anger that is a symptom of our broken economic model.
- And Stephen Bell discusses how growing inequality ultimately harms economic development for everybody

- The Angus Reid Institute examines the increasing public awareness that poverty and precarity are the norm for far too many Canadians. And Matt Humphrey reports on British Columbia's consultations around poverty - with special emphasis on the recognition that discrimination and poverty are closely linked.

- Dale Marshall points out that provincial temper tantrums over carbon pricing are only likely to backfire in the end.

- Finally, Seth Klein and Vyas Saran debunk the claim that a more proportional electoral system will in any way empower the far right. (Though it's worth noting the claim is mostly being made by the same people who have welcomed the alt-right into their own parties in the first place.)

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